Archive for October 10, 2012

PERFECTION REVISITED: EASTERN LADY COMETS SCORE A PERFECT 15 IN XC SECTIONAL

Eastern long distance runners Bethany and Brittany Neeley.

BY DEAN HOCKNEY

IHSAA LOGANSPORT GIRLS CROSS COUNTRY SECTIONAL

Days after scoring a perfect score of 15 at the Mid-Indiana Conference girls cross country meet, the sixth-ranked Eastern Lady Comets upped the ante by repeating the perfect score in an even bigger showcase – the IHSAA Logansport Girls Cross Country Sectional. Bethany Neeley captured her fourth consecutive cross country individual sectional title with a time of 18:32, while the rest of the Comet team – Brittany Neeley (19:36), Sarah Wagner (19.39), Carly Jones (19:56) and Avery Ewing (20:00) – followed across the finish line in the next four places.

In the team event, the top five teams advance to the Culver Academy Girls Cross Country Regional on Saturday: Northwestern finished second with 86 points, followed by Lewis Cass (97), Carroll (126), and Logansport (140). Western finished the race tied with Logansport but was edged out by the sixth runner tie-breaker. Kokomo finished 11th and Taylor fielded an incomplete team. The sectional team championship was the fourth consecutive for the Lady Comets.

For the runners-up Tigers, Taryn Thor (20:01) finished sixth, Kindra Gingerich was 11th (20:54), Karly Spouse was 15th (21:16) and Jensen Freeman was 23rd (22:30).

Western scored a top 10 run from Nicole Hampshire 10th (20:54), while Sam Luginbuhl crossed in 17th (21:42) and Erin Knepley was one spot back in 18th (21:53).

Kierra Bronson led Kokomo with a 57th place finish (24:46) and Ashley Nguyen (28:57) crossed in 71st place for Taylor.

IHSAA LOGANSPORT BOYS CROSS COUNTRY SECTIONAL

The Western Panthers squeaked out a 74-79 win over Logansport to capture the IHSAA Logansport Boys Cross Country Sectional championship to earn a trip to the Culver Academies Boys Cross Country Regional on Saturday. Other regional qualifiers (top five teams) included Carroll (117), Kokomo (123) and Northwestern (125). Eastern was sixth with a score of 143 and Taylor fielded an incomplete squad.

Despite the sixth place finish, the Eastern Comets advanced a pair of runners (top 15 individual finish) to the regional. Eastern’s Lewis Duke was crowned the individual champion with a time of 16:04 and teammate Adam Schaaf finished fourth (16:45).

For the Panthers, Matt Grider crossed the line in second place with a time of 16:09. Riley Worl was 14th (17:26), Jacob Bradshaw was 16th (17:38), Austin Elliott finished 19th (17:43) and Caleb Maddox finished 23rd (17:55).

For the Wildkats, Jeremy Breedlove finished sixth (17:10) and Jordan Fivecoate was 18th (17:42).

The Northwestern Tigers were led by a ninth place finish from Zach Duranto (17:16), while Charlie Neher was 20th (17:45) and Andrew Fackler was 21st (17:51)

Stephen Shotly paced Taylor with a 64th place finish of 21:36.

LADY COUGARS FALL TO RANKED UNOH ON SENIOR NIGHT

BY DEAN HOCKNEY for IU Kokomo Atheltics

KOKOMO, Ind. – On a night when the Indiana Univeristy Kokomo women’s volleyball team honored its lone senior, the Lady Cougars could not hold the home court against a talented squad from Lima, Ohio. NAIA No. 31-ranked University of Northwestern Ohio showed why they have just one loss on the season as the downed Kokomo 25-17, 25-15, 25-12. It marked the 21st straight victory for the Racers (23-1).

“Boy, I wish they would have picked a different team to end our home season with, they are awful good,” said Kokomo head coach Kristen Snoddy. “We played better than the last time we played them. I think the girls didn’t quit playing, and this is not for the faint of heart. One thing about playing a team like this is you see where you are as a program.”

Senior Night got off to a great start for Kokomo as they scored the first point of the evening on a UNOH error at the net. But a pair of kills gave the Lady Racers a 2-1 lead. Kokomo bounced back and scored following a long volley and a second error by UNOH, but on the next volley the Cougars hit the ball into the net to give the Racers a 3-2 lead – a lead they would not relinquish the rest of the set.

“We made some incredible plays and saves,” said Snoddy of Kokomo’s play during the three-set match. “So, the effort was there; we just would make two great plays and then make a silly mental error.”

In the second set, UNOH scored the first point, but freshman Rachel Allen (Lizton, Ind./Tri-West) fired a kill down the line to tie the game at one. The Racers scored the next four points before another kill by Allen ended the rally. Lael Burrus (Denver, Ind./North Miami) served an ace to cut the lead to 4-6 and Shelby Spall’s (Kokomo, Ind./Western) kill made it 5-7, but that is as close as the Cougars would be the rest of the set.

“We got caught watching the other side of the net too much and not anticipating where the ball was going to go,” said Snoddy.

The third set started like the second, but this time a kill from Miranda Hammons (Indianapolis/North Adams-Jerome) knotted the game at one. Megan Riley (New Palestine, Ind./New Palestine) cut the lead to 3-2, and Cortney Hanson (Winamac, Ind./Pioneer) kept Kokomo in the game with a kill to make it 5-3. But the rest of the set was all Racers and they cruised to the 13-point win.

“We played clear through to the end; we didn’t quit,” said Snoddy. “I think we have found a lineup that is working for us. I think we have better floor leadership than we had at the beginning of the season, and that is what we are working toward – getting better.”

Snoddy noted that since the Earlham College Tournament, the Lady Cougars have played much better. Prior to that tourney, Kokomo won 18-percent of its sets. Since the September 9 tourney, they have won 43-percent of its sets. Kokomo stands 7-20 on the season as it closed out its home portion of its inaugural NAIA campaign.

“When you can’t really gauge your team by wins or losses, you have to look at other milestones,” said the second-year Cougar mentor. “This is a good indication that we are moving in the right direction.”

Before the match, Kokomo honored its lone senior, Clinton Prairie graduate Heather Tolson. The Frankfort, Ind., native and Indiana High School Coaches Class 1A/2A All-Star transferred to IUK this season after spending two years at Kankakee Community College and one season at West Liberty University. At Kankakee, she was an NJCAA All-Region and All-Tournament selection after she led the school to the regional title match. She left KCC as a career top 10 performer in assists (1,317), saves (130) and sets played (298).

“Heather truly was something we were looking for in a setter,” said Snoddy. “It was gratifying to play with someone of her caliber. She has a presence at the net that most setters don’t have. She can block and she can kill, plus she sees the court very well. She will be missed.”

As the IUK home portion of the schedule ends, it still has six road matches remaining. First up is a road trip to Purdue Univeristy North Central (5-19) on Oct. 13 at 7 p.m. Two days later they travel to Romeoville, Ill., for an 8 p.m. match against NCAA Division II Lewis University (11-7).

“We still have a fair amount of season left and I think we still have some wins in us,” said Snoddy. “That is what we are working for.”

LADY KATS SOCCER, TIGERS SOCCER, LADY TIGERS VOLLEYBALL CLAIM TITLES

The Kokomo Lady Wildkats soccer seniors hold the IHSAA Class 2A Logansport Girls Soccer Sectional championship trophy.

A trio of Howard County teams hoisted hardware on Oct. 6, including a pair of IHSAA sectional trophies.

Kokomo Girls Soccer

The Kokomo Lady Wildkats claimed the IHSAA Class 2A Logansport Girls Soccer Sectional with a 3-2 upset victory over North Central Conference champion Marion. Spencer Wesche had the game-winning goal on a feed from Cheyenne Eltringham with 20 minutes left. Taylor Coram and Bre Kinder had the Lady Kats (13-5-1) other goals while Becca Wade had the win in goal. Earlier in the season, Marion topped the Kats 4-1. The win marked Kokomo’s first sectional title since 2010 and eighth overall. The Lady Kats also won a regional title in 2002.

Kokomo advances to the IHSAA Class 2A Logansport Regional where it will play the Noblesville Sectional champion and No. 2-ranked Hamilton Southeastern (17-2-1) in the second semi-final on Wednesday at 7 p.m. Yorktown (11-6) battles McCutcheon (11-8) in the 5 p.m. opener. The winners play for the regional championship on Oct. 13 at 1 p.m.

Northwestern Boys Soccer

For the second straight season, the Northwestern Tigers are kings of the IHSAA Class A Tipton Boys Soccer Sectional after they defeated Taylor 4-1 to claim the crown. Robert Olsen led the Northwestern offensive attack with a hat trick while Jacob Wagner added the insurance goal on a penalty kick.

No. 23 Northwestern (15-2) advances to the IHSAA Class A Tipton Regional, where it will play Crawfordsville (12-6) in the first semi-final game on Oct. 11 at 5 p.m. The second game matches No. 1 Guerin Catholic (16-0-1) against Muncie Burris (15-2). Guerin knocked the Tigers out of the tourney a year ago. The winners play for the regional title on Oct. 13 at 7 p.m. This is sixth sectional trophy for the Tigers program. They were regional champions in 2002.

Northwestern Volleyball

The Lady Tigers of Northwestern downed Eastern 25-16, 25-16, 25-20 to win the Howard County Tournament. Emily Harshman led the Tigers (10-12) with 10 service points in the title game, while Hannah Treadway added three aces and six blocks. Hannah Ballard also played well in the championship game with eight service receptions and eight digs. For Eastern (10-17), Lizzy Mavrick had 29 kills and 20 digs.

In the semi-final round of the tournament, Northwestern beat Western 25-8, 20-25, 25-11, 25-18 while Eastern eliminated Taylor 25-15, 25-10, 25-13.